Tackling Unemployment: Engineers Call on Government to Revitalize Technical, Vocational Education and Adopt NSQF

As part of the efforts to tackle unemployment and unemployability among young graduates in the country, the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) Warri Branch under the leadership of Engr. Godwin O. Enibueta has called on government at all levels to revitalize Technical, Vocational Education and Training across the country and implement National Skills Qualification Frameworks, NSQF; Isqil Najim Reports.

This call was made at a Public Lecture organized by the Branch on Saturday, 24th April, 2021, under the Distinguished Chairmanship of the President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Engr. Babagana Mohammed, and the Vice President of NSE (South South), Engr. Goodluck T. A. Ohwodo, as Special Guest of Honour.

Speaking on the theme, “The Roles of Technical, Vocational Education and Training on National Development” the guest speaker, Engr. Dr. Michael Adegbite, Director of Engineering, Petroleum Training Institute (PTI) Effurun, decried the impacts of poor and obsolete infrastructures in our education institutions, lack of incentives which has contributed to low quality output, and poor attraction of young people into science and technical based career.

He observed that the dichotomy between the HND and B.Sc. certifications in the country, and wrong social perception of the two programmes, also play a part in young people avoiding technical vocational education which they deem inferior. This consequently has huge impact on the skills base in the country. He recommended the full implementation of the National Skills Qualification Framework.

Tackling Unemployment: Engineers Call on Government to Revitalize Technical, Vocational Education and Adopt NSQF

Dr. Adegbite stressed that the rising of unemployment level from 27.1% in Q2 to 33.3% in Q4 of year 2020, should be a source of concern to the country. He attributed the restlessness and insecurity in the country to direct fallout from growing unemployment challenges. He called for urgent action to tackle the skills challenge in the country and empower young people.

He said that Nigeria has deficit of competent and skilled technical manpower despite the high population of youths in the country. He added that the skill sets needed is deficient in a number of industries, leading to poor employability of the teeming youths. This, he attributed to poor linkage between the academic and the industries, noting that there is need for the government and regulators to come together to address this issue.

He revealed that, in a bid to address the skill shortage, the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) which oversees technical education in Nigeria, recently come up with national framework for skilled vocation. According to him, this framework is integrated into the Nigerian Labour Law, to ensure that everyone is employable and recognised, and is able to contribute meaningfully into our national economy.

He explained that the National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF) organizes qualifications according to a series of levels of knowledge, skills and aptitude. These levels are defined in terms of learning outcomes which the learner must possess regardless of whether they were acquired through formal, non-formal or informal learning. The nationally integrated education and competency based skill framework provides for multiple pathways, linking one level of learning to another higher level. This will enable a person to acquire desired competency levels, transit to the job market and, at an opportune time, return for acquiring additional skills to further upgrade their competencies

Adegbite stated that this framework, when fully implemented, would serve as a way of restructuring the informal sector. He emphasized that, irrespective of academic background, individuals who are knowledgeable in certain skill areas should be accommodated within the labour force. He added that, this is something that is done globally, and we need to encourage it.

Dr. Adegbite recalled some decades ago, people would go to trade centres, even at primary school level, to learn handiworks and crafts at accredited training centres. They were introduced to various vocations such as woodworks, metalworks, and lots of other crafts, which they use to transits into work and progressively advance in their chosen career. Adegbite advised government at all levels to reintroduce system that is based on delivery of quality skills training of youths.

He recalled that NBTE in partnership with other skills development stakeholders has commenced the institutionalization of National Skills Qualification Frameworks (NSQF) in Nigeria. He charged government at all levels to make adequate provisions for Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET), and to collaborate with the industry regulating bodies, and other stakeholders for effective implementation and adoption of National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF) as a strategy for skills development.

Tackling Unemployment: Engineers Call on Government to Revitalize Technical, Vocational Education and Adopt NSQF

Earlier in his address, the Branch Chairman, Engr. Godwin O. Enibueta, said the Branch observed with displeasure, the widening gaps in technical and skilled manpower in the country. It was this reason that informed the need to dedicate this year’s Public Lecture to address the issues, create awareness and sensitize members of the public and relevant stakeholders, on the need to bridge the gap for national economic development.

By Isqil Najim (@isqilnajim)

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